Greek Poutine

Greek Poutine - Candy Coated Culinista

Greek Poutine – Candy Coated Culinista

When you hear the word poutine what do you think? Of course if you know what it is you think: Canadian. A poutine for the few that have never heard of this is fries served with gravy and cheese curds on top. Everywhere you turn now in Canada the poutine is on the menu at fast food joints, greasy spoons, dives, diners and pubs. We even have a place that only serves poutine called Smoke’s Poutinerie, taking the poutine to new heights with creative ingredients and making it a full meal. I have had one there that reminds me of a thanksgiving dinner with green peas and everything; but I’m going to fess up here, I the Candy Coated Culinista am a bad Canadian. I really don’t care for poutine. I love all the components: fries yum, gravy: who wouldn’t like gravy it’s pack with flavour, cheese: give me any type of cheese and I will eat it but I just don’t like the cheese curds. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that they have un-uniformed shapes, that it’s on the sour side but I don’t want that on my fries. One night I made Mr. C. Chilli fries and I experimented with the idea of Greek Poutine.

Yield/Serving: 1
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 25 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Fries, as much as you like
• A pinch or Greek spices
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste
• A bunch cilantro, rough chopped
• A bunch of basil, rough chopped
• Feta cheese, crumbled
• Mushroom gravy, from package

Assembly
1. Lay fries out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with Greek spices, salt and pepper and toss.
2. Follow the baking instructions of your fries and bake.
3. In the meantime chop the cilantro & basil and crumbled the feta cheese and set aside.
4. In a small saucepan prepare you gravy.
5. Once fries are done pour into a large bowl and coats with gravy, cilantro, basil, feta cheese and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have made this three times now and it’s slightly addictive for me. Maybe because I try to eat healthy most of the time or because I know it tastes better than any poutine I’ve ever had. It taste fresh and has a distinct Greek flavour which I love. I have a poutine I can now enjoy with all the components. I just had to C.C. it up a little to get me there.

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Macaron Diaries – Patachou Patisserie

Macaron Diaries - Patachou Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Macaron Diaries – Patachou Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Place: Patachou Patisserie
Location: 1120 Yonge St, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 2L6 (416)-927-1105 (Summerhill)

It doesn’t matter where in the city I am I can always find a Macaron lol. I’m a magnet, I kid you not. I had to take my car into to the shop and I knew in the area there was, a cold-press juice shop I wanted to try. But as I left with my juices in had I passed a patisserie and the name sounded familiar to me, even if I couldn’t pronounce it and I was right. I stumbled upon Patachou a patisserie on my quest list and grabbed 3 macarons for later. I had my juice to start the morning off healthy and as a treat sugar for dinner. I really have only come across two macarons so far that were only so, so and these weren’t one of them. I liked that the filling was what seemed to be a whipped cream based filling.

When I went home to check out the website I learned that after 35 years in Toronto, Patachou will be closing its door on May 3rd 2013 because bakers hours are quite grueling and it’s now time to rest, says the owner and baker at Patachou. I am making sure I get back here one more time to sit down and partake in a few more offerings and taste these treats one last time.

DIY Infinity Scarf – Practice #1

DIY - Infinity Scarf - Practice #1 - Candy Coated Culinista

DIY – Infinity Scarf – Practice #1 – Candy Coated Culinista

I finally pulled out my craft sewing machine that I got for my birthday last night. The previous night I read the instructions included in the box and they were not helpful in any shape or form. Last night I headed to YouTube and found so many how to videos that I managed to get the sewing machine working. I made a few practice sews; dug out the fabric I bought back in January and started my sewing journey. I started sewing immediately without much for-thought and managed to make one scarf, but then I realized I didn’t double over the fabric and I would probably have to un-stitch the fabric or just enjoy it as is. My second attempt using the remaining fabric, I had the theory down but I just can’t sew a straight line for the life of me. Once I was done it turned out pretty good; there was just one spot where I missed sewing the two pieces of fabric together. I then decided to sew it up by hand as I don’t know how to fix a problem like that yet. This didn’t turn out so well so I stole some ribbon planned for another project and covered up my sewing shame. The end result is a half decent infinity scarf in my eyes. It may not have the straightest lines and it probably could use a little more TLC regarding the ribbon. However, my first attempt was great and I am so proud of myself considering I completed one and a half scarves in less than two hours and before this I had never sewed one thing ever using a sewing machine. I will wear my raggedy, un-even scarf with pride, because I achieved something that has been on my bucket list and now if I never learn how to knit, I won’t feel so bad anymore.

Supplies
• Sewing Machine
• Thread
• Bobbin
• Fabric

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Slow and steady is the way to go. I have to get that sewing finesse and practice, practice, practice and I will get much better. My first scarf was much better than my second one because I used the foot pedal instead of the automatic guiding setting. I was just having trouble with the amount of pressure to apply to the foot pedal. With practice I will get better.

Spring Superfood Salad

Spring Superfood Salad - Candy Coated Culinista

Spring Superfood Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

This is one of the best cooking club recipes I have done to date and it was so simple and flavourful. I would definitely use this for a dinner party as the salad course; it’s bright and just taste of the spring. See my picture here in their gallery.

Slightly altered from Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 35 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
Salad
• 2 oranges
• 2 red or pink grapefruit
• 3 medium red beets, peeled and chopped
• 3 medium yellow beets, peeled and chopped
• 2 cups baby spinach
• 2 cups mixed greens
• 2 cups baby romaine lettuce
• 1 large handful of organic grape tomatoes (purple, yellow & red), sliced half
• 1/3 red onion, sliced into thin rings
• Handful of sliced almonds
• 100g feta sliced
• Fresh dill, chopped
• Fresh cilantro chopped
• Fresh parsley, chopped
Mimosa Vinaigrette
• 2/3 cup orange juice
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 2 tsp agave nectar
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• ¼ tsp black pepper

Assembly
Salad
1. Preheat oven to 425° and roast beets for 35 minutes.
2. Peel the Oranges and grape fruit and slice into medium slices.
3. Prepare all the remaining ingredients and place on a plate.
4. Peel beets and cut in half and the slice about 1 cm thick.
5. You can toss the salad at this point or lay it out on the plate in a nice neat fashion.
6. Place feta on the side.
Mimosa Vinaigrette
1. Whisk all the salad ingredients together and drizzle over salad.
2. Serve.

Tips
• Don’t keep the salad dressing for the next day. The olive oil started to get hard and scab over the top of the dressing, not pleasant. I had made a little extra for lunch the next day and noticed the salad dressing I had put in a container had started to curdle in a sense.
• I roasted the beets as I didn’t want raw beets, but if you like raw beets you can try that also.
• Use any greens & herbs you like, baby kale, beet greens, swiss chard anything you like

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I could have this every day and be quite content. Mr. C loved this salad too, lots of flavours and textures and the dressing which I didn’t have the highest expectations for tasted great. This salad is hearty and eats like a meal. If vegetarianism tasted and looked like this I could actually do it…. maybe.

Ackee and Saltfish

Ackee & Saltfish - Candy Coated Culinista

Ackee & Saltfish – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s almost Good Friday and that means one thing, no meat. I always try to have 2 to 3 dishes on hand for the day and will make a shrimp fried rice, buy vegetable lasagna and of course make ackee and saltfish. Ackee is a fruit that is found in parts of the West Indies along with West Africa. It can be poisonous if the fruit is picked too early and is unripened, so naturally I always purchase my ackee canned to ensure I don’t get sick; but I have heard stories of people picking the fruit to early and getting sick. Don’t let this deter you as this is a great dish if you want to try something ethnic and culturally inspired.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 1/3 lb saltfish (salted cod) – boneless/skinless
• 4 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 medium onion sliced
• 2 green onion
• ½ medium red pepper, chopped long and thin
• ½ medium green pepper, chopped long and thin
• 1 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 medium tomato cubed
• 1 can ackee (use fresh if you have – about 2 cups)
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• Fresh thyme (couple sprigs)

Tips
• Purchase canned ackee & saltfish from a West Indian store.
• Do not overwork the ackee, or it will before mushy. Try to get the look of fluffy scrambled eggs
• Add the garlic last as to not overcook them.
• You can serve it with Johnny cakes, boiled green banana or any other bread kind, or just some hard dough bread. I like it by itself personally.

Assembly/Method
1. Boil saltfish in a pot for 20 minutes at a simmer. Repeat 3 times to get some of the salt out of the fish.
2. Drain and rinse under cool water and break apart into flaky pieces. Set aside on a plate.
3. Sauté the onions, green onions, red pepper, green pepper, habenero pepper for 5 minutes in olive oil.
4. Add the garlic and the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.
5. Now add the saltfish and allow to sauté briefly.
6. Finally add the ackee that has been drained from the tin. It will take a couple of minutes for it to heat through and gently toss the ackee, to ensure not to destroy it.
7. Add ground black pepper & fresh thyme and serve.

Please Enjoy

Reviews
I made a big portion and gave some to my Jamaican co-worker and she liked it and said I did a great job for my first attempt. But of course she’d like more spice. The funny thing was I add more spice to her batch but it still wasn’t enough. Mr. C. on the other hand is no fan; it’s the texture of the ackee that he doesn’t like.

My thoughts
This is a recipe I grew up with and looked forward to having every Good Friday and now that I am making it myself I feel nostalgic every time.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta - Candy Coated Culinista

Bruschetta – Candy Coated Culinista

I saw these organic tomatoes in purple, yellow and red on my grocery trip and I wanted to find a recipe where I could showcase all these lovely colours.

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy,

Ingredients
• 1 baguette
• 30 organic grape tomatoes (purple, yellow & red), sliced into three (each grape)
• ½ small red onion, diced
• Handful basil, chiffonade
• Handful cilantro, chiffonade
• 8 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
• Big pinch of Italian seasoning
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• Goat cheese, crumbled

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice baguette on the bias and place on the baking tray and bake until toasted, 5-7 minutes.
3. Prepare tomatoes and herbs and place in a large bowl.
4. Mince garlic and place in a small frying pan over medium-high heat along with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
5. Cook for a minute then pour into bowl and add Italian seasoning and salt, pepper and the crumbled goat cheese into the mixture and combine.
6. Place mixture onto baguette and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a quick and healthy snack that tasted great. I loved the addition of the goat cheese, cilantro and balsamic vinegar. Mixed with the lovely colours of the tomatoes and the lemony smell of the cilantro it tasted divine. I will be making this as a snack or an appetizer more often.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sweet & Sour Chicken - Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet & Sour Chicken – Candy Coated Culinista

This is a classic Chinese dish for Chinese restaurant in Western countries. Sometimes I wonder if this is even made in China, but it’s tasty and if you make it yourself you know it’s good and with no MSG.

Yield/Serving: 4
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• Pineapple juice from 1 tin
• 1 ½ tsp brown sugar
• 4 tbsp corn starch.
• Water
• 1 Red pepper, cut into large pieces
• 1 Green pepper, cut into large pieces
• 1 onion, cut into large pieces
• 2 Carrots
• 1 tbsp sesame oil
• 3 boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
• 1 tin of pineapple chunks
• 3 cups white rice (if desired)

Assembly/Method
1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch and water.
2. Mix well and let reduce until mixture thickens up.
3. Cut the red pepper, green pepper, onion and carrots and set aside in a bowl with the pineapple chunks.
4. Cube the chicken breasts.
5. Pour sesame oil into a wok on medium-high heat, and cook cubed chicken through.
6. Once chicken is cooked through, remove from wok and set aside on some paper towel.
7. Place all the veggies in to wok and fry for a few minutes. Ensure the vegetables are still crunchy.
8. Add the chicken back along with the vegetables and stir in the sauce.
9. Serve with sticky rice.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I love this dish and I forgot how much I like pulling out my wok and making Asian food.

*** I also tried a sweet & sour shrimp with a cherry sauces as an alternative protein option.

Sweet & Sour Shrimp - Candy Coated Culinista

Sweet & Sour Shrimp – Candy Coated Culinista

Portuguese Custard Tart – Loblaws Patisserie

Portuguese Custard Tart - Candy Coated Culinista

Portuguese Custard Tart – Candy Coated Culinista

Place: Loblaws @ Maple Leaf Gardens
Location: 60 Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario

My first introduction to this tart was at my workplace Annual Bake Sale for the United Way. A Portuguese co-worker would of course bring in Portuguese Tarts. Every year from then on this is what I bought. Sure I’d try other selections, but I would always leave with this treat in hand. I had a recipe that called for Anchovy Fillets and I came across the tarts on my search. Needless to say I bought some and my beloved macarons as they were in the case too.
A Portuguese custard tart consists of an outer pastry crust that is filled with egg custard and baked. The custard is sweet and firm and the top is slightly burnt giving it the characteristics that make it a Portuguese tart.

My first bite is sweet and creamy and the crust is a chewy, crispy and crunchy; just like I remembered it. I was first introduced to these tarts at work at our yearly bake sale for the United Way. A Portuguese co-worker would always bring these in and it had to be an authentic cultural treat or she wasn’t brining anything in. Since my lips have touched these tarts, every time she would bring them in for an event I was first in line. There are a bunch of great bakeries in Toronto that have excellent Portuguese tarts. I will be trying these out and having a Portuguese Custard Tart Quest.

Portuguese Custard Tart - Loblaws Patisserie - Candy Coated Culinista

Portuguese Custard Tart – Loblaws Patisserie – Candy Coated Culinista

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets with Maple Fennel Bacon

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets with Maple Fennel Bacon - Candy Coated Culinista

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets with Maple Fennel Bacon – Candy Coated Culinista

I did another cooking club challenge of something I never heard of until I saw the picture; an eggs & toast tartlet. Breakfast isn’t breakfast for me without bacon so I had to add on the maple fennel recipe also. Just add a citrus and a glass of milk and to me this is a well-balanced breakfast. Here’s my picture in the Chateliane gallery.

Slightly Altered From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 15-18 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Egg & Toasts Brunch Tartlets
Ingredients
• 4 slices of white bread
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 shallot, thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 cup baby spinach
• ¼ cup shredded cheese, grated
• ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
• 4 large eggs
• 1/8 tsp salt
• Black pepper, to taste
• Sun-dried tomatoes, to garnish
• Green onion, chopped to garnish

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
2. Cut of 5`x5`squares of parchment paper and press into each cup of the muffin pan and spray with cooking oil.
3. Cut crust off the bread slices and flatten using a rolling pin.
4. Press into muffin cups to make a shell and spray with more cooking spray.
5. Toast for 5-7 minutes in the oven.
6. Using frying pan melt butter over medium-high heat.
7. Now add the onions and stir occasionally until soft and brown 12-15 min.
8. Add in the maple syrup and spinach and stir; let the spinach wilt, about 1-2 min.
9. Spoon some of the spinach mixture into each bread shell and sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes on top.
10. Add a little grated sharp cheddar.
11. Finally crack one egg on top of each tart leaving some egg whites behind and place egg yolk on top..
12. Season with black pepper.
13. Bake in the centre of the oven until the egg whites are set but yolks are runny, 15 to 18 min.
14. Garnish with dried tomatoes and green onion.

Tips
• I found the tarts looked better and keep their shape when I lined it with parchment paper.
• Small eggs are apparently impossible to find. I gave up on my third store search and held back some egg whites from each tart.

Maple Fennel Bacon
From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 6 slices
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp fennel seeds
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Using a frying pan on medium heat, place bacon in pan.
2. Mix maple syrup, brown sugar and fennel together and brush over bacon.
3. Cook until done.
4. Sprinkle with additional fennel seeds and black pepper.
5. Serve

Tips
• The original recipe called for the bacon to be baked in the oven. Following the instruction given ended in disaster for me and after wasting 7 slices of bacon, I did this stove top and it turned out just as well and less messy.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
If I’m having breakfast or brunch I will always have bacon & eggs and since both can’t go in the oven at the same time. Stove top for the bacon makes sense to me. This is a great breakfast dish and I can see why it was suggested as a brunch meal. It looks high class but without too much fuss. I added cheese because I thought the tart needed that little something extra. The tartlets were hard to eat and I was debating between knife and fork or by hand. If it’s a brunch I gather knife and fork; a relaxed breakfast for two or with friends and family, hands all the way. The bacon was my favourite part. It was sweet and salty and caramelized and just delicious.

Berries & Pistachio Cream

Berries & Pistachio Cream - Candy Coated Culinista

Berries & Pistachio Cream – Candy Coated Culinista

This light dessert is fresh and so simple to put together.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 6 strawberries, quartered
• 10 black berries, pierced
• 20 blueberries, pierced
• ½ tbsp Grand Marnier
• ½ tbsp peach liqueur
• 1 cup, whipping cream
• 1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp pistachio, finely chopped

Assembly
1. Prepare the fruits and pour into bowl.
2. Pour Grand Marnier and peach liqueur over berries.
3. Whip whipping cream along with vanilla extract until thick.
4. Prepare pistachios.
5. In a glass cup place berries in and top with whipped cream and then sprinkle pistachios over top.

Tips
• You can use store-bought whipped cream if desired, but homemade is so much better.

Please Enjoy

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